football

Plumlee headed to Tobacco Road

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Mason Plumlee did his homework and he did it fast. The 6-foot-11 big man from Christ School (N.C.) is headed to Duke.
The Blue Devils moved quickly on the fast-rising big man this year and Plumlee spent some quality time on the Durham campus with his parents of late and decided the time was right for him to commit.
Christ School head coach David Gaines said Plumlee and his family saw a perfect fit with the ACC powerhouse.
"Mason was really in a position where he was ready to pick a school and for Duke, it just seemed that everything fit. It's a great academic school, obviously. It's not a large school. They play in a great league," Gaines said. "Most important, I think the confidence that Coach K and his staff had in Mason's abilities was the biggest thing. From the time they started recruiting him they said his skills would fit them perfectly with what they wanted to do.
"He felt very comfortable with what they had to say about how he would fit into their system and the national reputation that Duke has, all of the Final Fours and National Championships. Mason wants to be a part of that."
For the Blue Devils, Plumlee's commitment is big because his recruitment climbed the ladder over the last couple of months as the power forwards in the 2009 seemed to commit at a daily pace. Plumlee visited Stanford, Michigan, Notre Dame, Georgetown, North Carolina and Illinois along with his brother Miles, who is signed with Stanford.
Plumlee helped his Christ School claim a state title over the weekend. Prior to winning it all, he spent time in Durham with his parents. The visit was key in the decision-making process, Gaines said.
"We've made two visits down there now and it was very important for his parents to go down there and they spent quite a bit of time last week on campus with Coach K, Coach [Chris] Collins," Gaines said. "We've seen a couple of games there and they've seen a couple of games here."
Gaines said Plumlee was excited about the possibility of what is to come at Duke and under Coach K's tutelage.
"Coach K's vision for what Mason can be got us all excited. And he's the type of kid that is going to work probably hardest on the areas where he's the most deficient. That's what he's done with us. He's become a better defender and a much better rebounder. The skills he has as a ball-handler, as a shooter and as a skilled player were there but he's really worked on his deficiencies. When he gets there 16 months from now, I really think he will be a guy that can step in and contribute," Gaines said.
"I've heard from a lot of these coaches that have recruited him that he can truly play at the highest level, the NBA. That's pretty heady stuff. There are still a lot of improvements to be made but when coaches come in and say, 'Coach, he's a pro.' I just sit back and say okay. I've never had a kid more committed to getting better than Mason…He has a burning passion to get better at all facets of his game and that's important going into a place like Duke because they demand everything you've got."
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